"The number 3 must not be said" - the best responses from Gabe Newell's AMA

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The studio behind Half-Life and Portal doesn't talk to the outside world much. So when Valve co-founder Gabe Newell went public with an "Ask Me Anything" thread on Reddit last night, people had plenty of queries. Questions ranged from niceties to obvious spots like what the hell is going on with Half-Life 3 to broader questions about the company's future. I've pulled out the most telling bits of Newell's AMA responses for your perusal.

On Half-Life 3

"The number 3 must not be said," Newell joked. He also sarcastically derided the alleged insider report that Half-Life 3 never really got off the ground and probably never will, saying "Yes. I personally believe all unidentified anonymous sources on the Internet" - source

Aside from that, nothing. Except for the fact that yes, many people do in fact ask him "When is Half-Life 3 coming?" when they see him in public.

On the Half-Life and Portal movie collabs with J.J. Abrams

"Yep. They're coming." - source

On Left 4 Dead 3

"Products are usually the result of an intersection of technology that we think has traction, a group of people who want to work on that, and one of the game properties that feels like a natural playground for that set of technology and design challenges.

"When we decided we needed to work on markets, free to play, and user generated content, Team Fortress seemed like the right place to do that. That work ended up informing everything we did in the multiplayer space.

"Left 4 Dead is a good place for creating shared narratives." - source

On his favorite Valve game

"I think Portal 2 is our best single-player game. I play Dota 2 the most of our multiplayer games." - source

Wait, not Half-Life?

"The issue with Half-Life for me is that I was involved in a much higher percentage of the decisions about the games, so it's hard for me to look at them as anything other than a series of things I regret. There's no information in my response about what we'll do in the future. It's simply easier for me to be a fan of things that in which I was less directive."

"If you are involved in a game, everything ends up being a set of trade-offs. Anything in a game is a sacrifice of things not in the game. I just feel those more personally about Half-Life for a bunch of reasons.

"And Xen." That is, the massively tone-shifting alien world from the end of Half-Life. - source

On unannounced games

"We are continuing to use Source 2 as our primary game development environment. Aside from moving Dota 2 to the engine recently, we are are using it as the foundation of some unannounced products. We would like to have everyone working on games here at Valve to eventually be using the same engine. We also intend to continue to make the Source 2 engine work available to the broad developer community as we go, and to make it available free of charge." - source

Is Valve working on any more single-player games?

"Yes" - source

On Valve's future (in your brain)

"The big thing right now is broadening the range of options we have in creating experiences. We think investing in hardware will give us those options. The knuckles controller [which tracks how users open and close their hands] is being designed at the same time as we're designing our own VR games.

"Much more narrowly, some of us are thinking about some of the AI work that is being hyped right now. Simplistically we have lots of data and compute capability that looks like the kinds of areas where machine learning should work well.

"Personally I'm looking at research in brain-computer interfaces." - source

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